It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Top 5. I hope you enjoy these articles as much as I did.
1. ‘America’s ‘Oh Sh*t!‘ Moment’, Niall Ferguson, The Daily Beast
Niall Ferguson’s diagonsis of what ails America and how it can be repaired and our nation reinvigorated.
In my view, civilizations don’t rise, fall, and then gently decline, as inevitably and predictably as the four seasons or the seven ages of man. History isn’t one smooth, parabolic curve after another. Its shape is more like an exponentially steepening slope that quite suddenly drops off like a cliff.
2. ‘The Wonk Who Slays Washington‘, Peter J. Boyer, The Daily Beast
A thoughtful review of Peter Schweizer’s book Throw Them All Out which brings to light all the greed and crony capitalism of our nation’s capitol.
Washington does seem to live by its own laws of economics. The D.C. metro area has displaced Silicon Valley as home of the highest median income, at $84,523 last year (compared with the national average of $50,046). Earlier this month, a Roll Call study of congressional financial disclosures revealed that the net worth of members of Congress had grown by 25 percent since 2008, during a period in which the average American household has lost as much as 20 percent of its net worth.
3. ‘What You Don’t Often Hear About Those ‘Greedy‘ One Percenters’, John Tamney, Forbes
Darn those 1% and all their hard work, ingenuity, smarts, generosity, and job creating filth!
Readers of the above doubtless sense a rhyme to Rockefeller’s early history with that of the late Apple CEO, Steve Jobs. As Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson recounts in his book about the man, Jobs arrived at Atari’s offices early in his career and told those willing to see him that he would not leave the premises without a job offer. Having written a major bestseller that was more recently turned into a blockbuster film, Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help, is firmly ensconced now inside the top 1 percent. What’s perhaps less well known is how many years it took Stockett to write her book, not to mention the 60+ rejection letters she received from agents before finding one willing to take her vision to publishers.
1 percenters generally have the nerve, drive and self-assurance that the rest of us could only dream of. We see where they are or were, but what the envious among us never consider is what they did to get there.
4. ‘The India-China Rivalry‘, Robert D. Kaplan, Stratfor
Kaplan is almost always worth reading and this succinct analysis of the current state of Indian-Chinese affairs is no different:
This is a rivalry born completely of high-tech geopolitics, creating a core dichotomy between two powers whose own geographical expansion patterns throughout history have rarely overlapped or interacted with each other. Despite the limited war fought between the two countries on their Himalayan border 50 years ago, this competition has relatively little long-standing historical or ethnic animosity behind it.
5. ‘On Tyranny and Liberty: Would the Founders approve of the nation we’ve made?‘, Myron Magnet, City Journal
I’ll end with this powerful recap American ideals and how they are being challenged like never before today.
When we ask how our current political state of affairs measures up to the Founders’ standard, we usually find ourselves discussing whether a given law or program is constitutional, and soon enough get tangled in precedents and lawyerly rigmarole. But let’s frame the question a little differently: How far does present-day America meet the Founders’ ideal of free government, protecting individual liberty while avoiding what they considered tyranny?…
One of the greatest dramas of President Washington’s first term was the showdown between House of Representatives leader James Madison and Treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton over how to interpret the Constitution of which Madison was the moving spirit, and which he and Hamilton had defended and explicated together in The Federalist. Hamilton wanted the government to charter a national bank; Madison argued that doing so would be unconstitutional because chartering a bank was not one of the limited and enumerated powers given to the federal government. It was no good, he said, for Hamilton to claim that the Constitution’s clause empowering Congress to make any law “necessary and proper” for carrying out its enumerated powers would permit it to charter the bank, since a bank wasn’t “necessary” but merely “convenient.” Once you start saying that the Constitution’s “necessary and proper” clause, or commerce clause, or clause to provide for the general welfare gives Congress implied powers, you are setting off on a course that will in the end “pervert the limited government of the Union, into a government of unlimited discretion, contrary to the will and subversive of the authority of the people.”
Any recommendations of your own?